Whitby gaffer Williams: ‘I want to win league’

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Whitby Town player-manager Darren Williams has lofty ambitions for next season.

The ex-Sunderland star claims he can steer the Blues to the EvoStik League championship and he has players lined up should he decide any of the current crop don’t measure up.

“I want to go and win the league next season and I believe that I will win the league next season,” he told the Whitby Gazette.

“I want to know who’s going to be on the bus with us and who isn’t. I’ve put it to the lads – do you want to be part of it?

“If you do, you need to be grafting. They either take it on board and do something about it, or they go the other way.”

Williams made more than 200 appearances in the top two levels of English football with Sunderland and twice represented England at B level.

“I’ve had people in touch wanting to play,” he revealed.

“If you see someone working their socks off, wanting to win, they’re the kind of lads you want in the trenches with you.

“You earn your place right until the end of the season.”

The Blues tackle the second of their three successive home games on Saturday (March 22) when Ashton United provide the opposition.

The Robins are just one place below the play-offs and despite the five point deficit between themselves and Skelmersdale United in fifth, the Premier Division newcomers’ run of four defeats in five games will give them hope of overturning that lead.

United have been on a nightmare descent since coming from 2-1 down in the last three minutes to beat Town 4-2, last month.

Ashton’s three-match winning spree was ended by strugglers Barwell last weekend, though they have a formidable record at the Turnbull, losing just three out of 12 visits and winning four of their last six, including a 3-1 victory last season.

This time around, however, Town have already beaten the Greater Manchester side 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller at their Hurst Cross home, in October.

Blues physio Kenny Bolton is expecting centre-half Lee Bullock to again be in contention after being rested with calf and back problems in midweek against Rushall and believes right-back Ibby Hassan should shrug off his impact knock sustained in the same game. Striker Craig Farrell is also carrying a back injury, but should be fine.

The Seasiders’ run of home games may decide whether their league record at HQ is good or bad with Williams’ men drawing nine of 17 league games at the Turnbull – their 14 ties is the highest in the division.

No-one outside the bottom three have won less than Town’s paltry five home wins, but only three clubs in the 24-team Evo-Stik NPL Premier have lost fewer on home turf than Whitby’s three defeats.

Kick-off is 3pm. Easter draw tickets will also be on sale, ask for Eddie McNamee.

Whitby players Shane Bland, Lee Mason, Tom Portas and Shane Henry, will all feature in the Northern League’s 125th anniversary match on at Bishop Acukland on Tuesday.

A supporters’ bus is running from Whitby – you must book your place by calling Town FC chairman Graham Manser on 07966 241344.

You can listen to to interviews with boss Darren Williamns, plus players Shane Bland and Tom POrtas, on the Whitby Town codcast here